New Curriculum

Discussion in 'General Education' started by MrsC, Jun 23, 2020.

  1. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Messages:
    14,016
    Likes Received:
    1,831

    Jun 23, 2020

    This afternoon, our province unveiled a new math curriculum that we will be implementing in September. Here, "curriculum" refers to what we teach, not the materials that are used or a specific program. I haven't read it yet in detail as it only became "live" after the press conference that announced the new curriculum, but there are some fairly significant changes, not just in content but in philosophy. We are three days from the end of the school year and, at this point and have no idea what things will look like in September, other than to be certain things will not be typical. I've been at this game for a long time, but am struggling with getting my mind around not just having to teach very differently and coming up with ways to bridge the very significant gaps that we'll encounter with kids returning in September after differing participation in remote learning, but also finding resources and planning for new content.

    I wish that the people making decisions had some experience of what it is like to be in a classroom.
     
  2.  
  3. CaliforniaRPCV

    CaliforniaRPCV Companion

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2009
    Messages:
    171
    Likes Received:
    131

    Jun 23, 2020

    That's interesting. Is the new curriculum being introduced in the lower grades and rolled forward year by year, or just across the board causing gaps in background for the later grades?
     
  4. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Messages:
    14,016
    Likes Received:
    1,831

    Jun 23, 2020

    Across the board Kindergarten through Grade 8. Usually with new standards, we have a year of a "soft launch", where we are able to figure out logistics. For this, it's hit-the-ground-running.
     
  5. mathteachertobe

    mathteachertobe Cohort

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2011
    Messages:
    623
    Likes Received:
    151

    Jun 23, 2020

    This reminds me of when we switched to the Common Core standards, I guess six years ago now. We definitely had gaps created by the switch. We had some PDs where we looked at the new vertical alignment, but didn't really spend enough time comparing old versus new. Our site adopted a new pedagogical approach (Complex Instruction) at the same time, so there were so many changes it was hard to figure out whether student confusion was rooted more in curricular or methodology issues. I really like the standards, so am happy we made the switch. By year three it was going very smoothly and even year two was pretty good.
     
  6. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2013
    Messages:
    4,036
    Likes Received:
    1,635

    Jun 23, 2020

    Terrible timing, I agree! So if “curriculum” refers to what must be taught, will you need new textbooks and materials as well?
     
  7. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Messages:
    14,016
    Likes Received:
    1,831

    Jun 23, 2020

    We are not dependent on a specific textbook or materials. Teachers are able to select resources that work best for them and their students. Even if new materials are produced, there's no way they can be out to schools in time for teachers to preview them before school starts. New ed publications usually go through a select trial of at least one school year to work out bugs.
    I'm just venting....this has just added one more stress onto the end of an already stressful year and the start of one that is looking to be equally stressful.
     
  8. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2013
    Messages:
    4,036
    Likes Received:
    1,635

    Jun 23, 2020

    Gotcha. Well you are very lucky to be able to teach how you want using what you feel is best at least to meet the standards/curriculum. That’s the way teaching should be! But still, rotten time to change. Anyone making education policies should have recent classroom experience!
     
  9. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2005
    Messages:
    5,802
    Likes Received:
    1,273

    Jun 23, 2020

    We redid all of our pacing guides and curriculum maps this year. Standards didn’t change. Our materials didn’t change much. The pacing didn’t change. Basically we put the same things on a different form. (SSDF :rolleyes:)

    We put in a whole separate class to address COVID-19 gaps. The previous grade sent lists of anything they felt like was missed.
     
  10. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,827
    Likes Received:
    1,769

    Jun 24, 2020

    I know this can be an unpopular opinion, but I disagree. Of course I understand the desire to want to teach how one feels is best, and I used to feel that way too. However, the more research I read and the more I realize that others are not keeping up with the research but are, instead, doing the same thing they've always done because "that's how they've always done it and they like it that way," the more I understand and value having a common philosophy and pedagogy within a school and across a district. I believe there should be some flexibility within that pedagogy but only to an extent. Teachers should be working within a clear set of district or school guidelines, and, if their own personal philosophy or preferences don't align, then it may be time to search for a new job. This is why I would always recommend checking out websites or asking questions about philosophy and pedagogy when applying and interviewing for new teaching positions. It's not in the best interest of children for us to teach the way we want simply because we want to or because we believe that our way is best. Our methods need to be based on current research and should be grounded in what the employing school district believes to be best practice. When that's not the case, that's one a person can truly say that it wasn't "a good fit" when explaining why they left a job.

    It doesn't sound like that's the case in this particular situation. I imagine that MrsC is still expected to teach within certain parameters but has flexibility in choosing books and other instructional materials. My comment is only to say that I agree with administrators who place higher expectations on teachers than simply teaching the standards the way they see fit. That said, I am very opposed to administrators requiring specific page numbers from a specific book on specific days at specific times (or that kind of teaching), despite it not being in the best interest of children. There is a happy medium in there, and the more we keep up with current research, the easier it is to find that place of balance.
     
    a2z likes this.
  11. sevenplus

    sevenplus Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2006
    Messages:
    1,713
    Likes Received:
    90

    Jun 24, 2020

    Our district just adopted a new reading curriculum, new math curriculum, and a new LMS.

    No idea if we'll be teaching virtually or with a blended model.

    It's a lot.
     
  12. college

    college New Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2020
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 25, 2020

    just across the board causing gaps in background for the later grades?
     
  13. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2011
    Messages:
    6,003
    Likes Received:
    862

    Jun 26, 2020

    My district chose a new ELA curriculum this spring. They started the whole endeavor pre-pandemic, so that part isn't necessarily their fault, but we weren't very far along in the process at all when things got bad- I believe we'd had one meeting prior to the school closures. I was "voluntold" to be on the committee that was choosing the curriculum. The only thing that changed was they put a bit more stock into what digital resources were available when considering different companies. We chose something at the beginning of this month and it's currently being ordered.

    I expressed concern about putting this on our teachers when there are going to be SO many other new things next year, and so many uncertainties. Will teachers be trying to figure out how to do a brand new curriculum online? With a hybrid model? Maybe in person but with a whole bunch of crazy new "precautions?" I've been in the district long enough to remember the last time we got a new ELA curriculum, and teachers were extremely overwhelmed even without all of the pandemic factors.

    People looked at me like I had 3 heads. They think it's really going to be just a "small shift in thinking." Mmmkay. I think the teachers are going to absolutely lose their minds. The only thing that might make them delay implementing it is if the materials don't come in time before we start in August. That's happened literally every other time we've ordered new curriculum stuff. So I'm just over here hoping for some shipping delays...
     
    otterpop likes this.
  14. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,827
    Likes Received:
    1,769

    Jun 27, 2020

    Were classroom teachers part of the committee, too? If so, what were their thoughts when you expressed concern? Also, when you say curriculum, are you referring to a published program? Are teachers expected to follow the program exactly as it's laid out, or will there be room for flexibility?

    My district is in a bit of a transition phase where we are gradually starting to actually use a reading program with consistency that we've only had available as an optional resource in past years. I don't think that it will be too difficult for teachers to adjust to, as our shared instructional philosophy already aligns with the program, and our district (and specifically the principal in my building) offers teachers flexibility and discretion, as long as the same goals are achieved and the structures are in place.
     
  15. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2011
    Messages:
    6,003
    Likes Received:
    862

    Jun 27, 2020

    There were very few classroom teachers on the committee- maybe 2? I was also the only sped teacher; it was basically all reading interventionists, instructional coaches, and admin. We had one classroom teacher from my school on the team, but once schools closed she had some sort of family situation happen and wasn't able to keep going to the meetings. The conversation re: teachers being overwhelmed next year was in a separate meeting just with the people from my school on the team- admins, coach, and interventionists. The coach and one of the interventionists are former classroom teachers, so I guess they think they can anticipate what it's like, but it's been awhile for both of them/neither of them were classroom teachers under our current leadership and expectations.

    We already use Heggerty for PA and Structured Literacy for phonics and spelling so the program is only for vocab/comprehension. We were previously using a basal program and this is focusing on building background knowledge and exposure to high quality text in the vein of Natalie Wexler type stuff rather than teaching "comprehension strategies." We've talked a bit about that at my school this year, so I think that's where they're getting the "small shift in thinking." But that doesn't mean it won't be a lot of work to implement in practice, and teachers won't be able to reuse anything from last year, either in person or online.

    There may be flexibility as far as implementing the program at the school level as far as pieces they really want to focus on. It's not scripted so it's not something you could do lock step anyway. However, in pretty much everything we do there is very little flexibility between classrooms. Teachers can't just decide to use the program as a "resource" and do their own thing.
     
  16. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,827
    Likes Received:
    1,769

    Jun 27, 2020

    I think I've said this before, but I would LOVE to work at your school. My school just isn't there yet in terms of how to teach reading, and I'm not sure that we'll ever really get there.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. RainStorm,
  2. 3dprintindex,
  3. TeacherNY,
  4. MissCeliaB,
  5. stephenpe
Total: 336 (members: 7, guests: 310, robots: 19)
test